Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Simple Things Make Me Happy

 I've been getting eggs from a local lady here in Topanga recently.  I love how un-uniform they are.  They come in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors.  I really can't wait to have my own chickens.  It's incredible the difference in fresh eggs from healthy, happy chickens, eating a proper, pastured diet.  The yolks are bigger, thicker, darker, and the whole egg just tastes better.  Not to mention how pretty it is to open up my box of eggs to find blue, green, pink, white, brown eggs, some tiny, some big.  I love it.   I've never liked eggs that much, but I've been eating them a lot more these days.  They are an easy source of protein and once I get my own chickens, will put me that much closer to being self-sustaining.


I love fennel.  I've been so happy to start seeing it show up in my CSA box and at the farmer's market.  Last week I grabbed several small fennel bulbs at the farmer's market, with no real plan of what I wanted to do with them.  I also started my fennel seeds for the garden.  I can't wait till I'm growing my own fennel!

I've eaten a lot of fennel this past week.  First I tossed together a super simple, fresh and tasty salad.  I used my mandolin to thinly slice one fennel bulb and then I tossed in a strainer and thoroughly washed it (the fennel was dirty!).  I julienned some raw celeriac I also found at the farmer's market and tossed that together.  To add some color I chopped some cilantro and the fennel fronds to go in the salad.  I simply dressed the salad with some hazelnut oil, the juice and zest of a very small lemon, a touch of local honey, salt and fresh ground pepper.  Not my prettiest salad, but it was so good and so easy. 

Friday, April 8, 2011

Marmalade and Other Friday Lazy Ramblings

With it being citrus season and all I've been up to my ears in oranges, grapefruit and lemons.  Mostly oranges.  For a while the boys and I were keeping up nicely, but after a while we started getting overwhelmed and I decided it was marmalade time.

 I mismashed a few recipes and decided to use pectin in case the boys didn't allow me the time to cook it down all the way.  I tossed in some ground cardamom and a splash of vanilla.  I added some sprigs of rosemary in a few jars just for fun.  It came out really well and was soooo easy.  I love eating it with some cream cheese on tasty toast.  Mmmmm.

Happy Friday!  These are actually from last Friday, but that's okay.  We did some PJ gardening with the cats and then made our way to the farmer's market and gourmet store.  I love having a partner in crime to indulge in all my tasty treats (the 1.5 year old!) he's my food bud. 


Sometimes you just need to keep things simple...the other night I needed just that.  I had a simple dinner of whole wheat spaghetti (I finally found my pasta maker downstairs, so next time it'll be homemade!), mushroom and tomato sauce, super spicy Italian sausage with caramelized onions and a medley of hardy winter greens.  And a glass of wine, of course. 

  I hope everyone has a great weekend planned!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Wheeler Gorge

We went camping this week.  We meant to stay two nights but it ended up being a bit chillier than we anticipated and we only stayed one. 

It was gorgeous.  The campground was empty, we had no one around us, and we had the best spot in the place, right on the bank of the creek.  It was incredibly lovely to fall asleep to the sound of rushing water.  We go to bed to the sounds of a creek at home, too, but it's more of a babbling brook with hundreds of extremely loud frogs ribeting the night away.  This creek was much bigger and wooshed us to sleep.  Even the boys went to sleep easily. 

Before bed, we made bacon wrapped hot dogs and enjoyed them with some beer and then I fell asleep while putting the boys down around 9pm.  I didn't get great pictures of the hot dogs because I didn't know where the camera was and it was quite dark anyhow.  But since this is supposed to be a food blog, I took a couple pics with my phone. 

In the morning it was beautiful.  We had brought the bean's bike and he rode that thing probably more this trip than he has since he got it at Christmas.  Later we went on a fun hike to a creek where the boys splashed and had a blast and then it was time for home.  Somehow we made it home less than 24 hours from when we left and we were exhausted.  Such is life with kids, I think! 

We will be doing a lot more camping this year and we will definitely return to Wheeler Gorge in the near future.